You introduced the idea for your first solo restaurant, ‘Story’, with a pop-up called ‘Foreword’. How did ‘Foreword’ influence ‘Story’? Why did you choose that name?
It’s the other way around, Story influenced Foreword. I always knew I was going to call my own restaurant Story. Ever since I started out in cooking it’s been the only name I wanted to use. For the pop-up I chose ‘Foreword’ because that’s the part that comes before the main event and by that time the plans and vision for the restaurant were up and running.
Since then you have secured a site for ‘Story’. How did you choose the location and what are you planning in terms of décor?
The site chose me in many ways. I looked at a lot of sites and this one felt right, a real gut feeling which I am a big believer in and never ignore. I love the romance and history of it having been a Victorian toilet block and it’s rare to find a stand-alone building in such an iconic location. You look out of one window and there is Tower Bridge and you look out another and there is the Shard. As for the décor, it’s full of texture. We’re using a lot of natural finishes and rich colours, plus some stone work we rescued from the original toilet block.
You have worked with some very big names in the industry, such as Rene Redzepi and Tom Aikens. Did this help you in developing the menu? What kind of food will you be serving?
All the chefs I’ve worked for have of course helped me develop as a cook. I found myself in food and developing the menu was my vision. I didn’t want my food to become overly influenced by others. It is essentially British, strictly seasonal and steeped in history, but it’s my interpretation.
Launching a restaurant is a lot of hard work. What gets you going?
It is what I have wanted since I was 16. I fully appreciate how lucky I am to have this opportunity, to have found people to support me. I don’t want to let them or myself down. That’s what gets me going. And when we open, I want my team to be proud of what we are doing and that is what will keep us going and moving forward.
Address: 201, Tooley Street, London, SE1 2UE.
020 7183 2117